Potato Blog: Highlights from The Netherlands

Continuing our blog series from our Northern Europe potato expert Olaf van Campen, sharing his insights to the world of potatoes.

It’s the last blog of 2016 and how time flies. A few weeks ago, we were busy with the potato harvest and now we are preparing for the 2017 season. In the meantime, a lot has happened, certainly in the potato area.

In the Netherlands, the VVD (political party) has recently made an inventory of the problems and challenges the Dutch potato is facing. It is excellent that the political arena is focusing on this beautiful crop that the Netherlands is known for worldwide. One of the concerns is crop protection - politicians are rightly concerned about the authorization of plant protection products. We notice that the number of active substances in Europe is 'under pressure' - think glyphosate, linuron and isoproturon. To be able to continue to run a profitable crop, it is important that we can have a wide product portfolio in the future, especially considering resistance problems.

For more information on the nine other actions in the report go to: http://helmalodders.vvd.nl/uploaded/helmalodders.vvd.nl/files/5834ad172eea5/actieplan-nederland-pieperland.pdf 

This report concentrates on maintaining innovative, highly productive and sustainable potato production in the Netherlands.

Because Adama are known as experts in the field of potatoes, I was invited to contribute at the launch of Banjo Forte in Ukraine. It was great to participate and to be acknowledged overseas for our potato knowledge. Ukraine is a great potato nation, annually producing over 22 million tons of potatoes, making it the fourth potato producer in the world. With an average of 136 kg per head of population, Ukrainians are real potato eaters (for Belarus, 181 kg per head, and Kyrgyzstan, 143 kg per head). Netherlands is on average 70 kg per head of processed and unprocessed potatoes, so considerably below those levels. Incidentally, we produce nearly 7 million tons of potatoes in the Netherlands.

In late October, we held our annual Talent meeting in Netherlands. Thereby sharing all the results and experiences of last season among all potato trading houses and plant protection distributors. When we launched this event six years ago, we had five participants and nowadays there are more than 30 people involved, going from strength to strength.

Next week I will welcome a group of 30 German potato growers to the Netherlands. They want to learn everything about the storage of potatoes. We will certainly showcase our expertise and the application of Talent in seed potato storage. We will also visit Geert Kessel at the Wageningen University who will share his view on the future of the Late Blight situation. We are still waiting for the new Blight monitoring data that we took in the context of EuroBlight last year.

That the Netherlands is a leader in the potato sector, was also visible at Interpom. This international potato trade fair in Kortrijk, Belgium, attracted 20,000 visitors. At least half of the exhibitors consisted of Dutch companies, from trade to mechanization and suppliers. It was interesting to see the new emerging developments. The stands of HZPC and Agrico showed new potato varieties that should contribute to an improved quality and quantity in the future.

Meanwhile, the sorting work is also continuing. Our Dutch Certifying Agency “NAK” has modified the inspection policy on growth cracks, responding to the current market situation. Fortunately, our quality of seed potatoes is acceptable. The yields are not as high as we used to have so the sorting will be done around Christmas.

Following that round-up, I wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a great potato season for 2017! Or, as in Ukraine the people say: Vesoloho Vam Rizdva i Shchastlyvoho Novoho Roku!

Olaf van Campen
9 December 2016

Olaf van Campen is Adama’s Northern Europe Crop Manager for Potatoes and Sugarbeets. He joined Adama six years ago as development specialist in the N-Zone in Europe (Scandinavia and Baltics). Previously, having studied Agricultural Business Mangement, Olaf worked for HZPC, the biggest seed potato company in the world, based in Joure, Netherlands, where he was a sales/logistic representative for consumption potatoes in Europe. He then went on to work in the advisory service Delphy in the Netherlands, giving advice in arable crops like potatoes, sugarbeets, onions, carrots, cereals.

Dutch Potato
Launch of Banjo Forte in Ukraine
Dutch Potato
Varieties at Interpom
Dutch Potato
Sorting seed potatoes